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Kodiak Kowboy lassos a Saratoga Special win.
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Kodiak Kowboy an Old Pro in Saratoga Special Win

Two-year-old colt Kodiak Kowboy took the Saratoga Special (gr. II) by three-lengths Aug. 16.

Kodiak Kowboy had more experience than any of his five rivals in the $150,000 Saratoga Special (gr. II) (VIDEO).

Smartly, jockey Shaun Bridgmohan used that to his advantage, as he waited patiently through the early stages of the 6 1/2-furlong sprint and then burst between horses, eventually coasting to a convincing three-length victory in a test for 2-year-olds on the main track.

It was the fourth consecutive win for the son of Posse, by Silver Deputy, and his third stakes title. Trained by Steve Asmussen and bred by Hartwell Farm in Kentucky, the 2-1 second choice came home in a final time of 1:15.95. He paid $6.80 to win.

“He ran well,” Asmussen said. “The concern today was the inside. He had such a beautiful stalking trip in all three of his victories; (in those races) he was in a three-wide stalking position. Today, he overcame a little bit. What I love was that, down in between horses, he was looking for somewhere to go, and when it opened up, he punched through nicely. We’re hoping to run him in the Belmont Futurity (Grade II, Sept. 15).”

Betting favorite The Roundhouse pursued the winner gamely down the stretch, coming from off the pace to finish second at 6-5. The exacta (1-7) paid $14.60. Riley Tucker completed the trifecta (1-7-5).

Kodiak Kowboy was purchased for $70,000 last August by Vinery Stables. Following his victory in the Bashford Manor Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs July 7, a half-interest was sold to Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm.

Bridgmohan was able to steady his colt along the rail during the early part of the race, content to let pacesetters Riley Tucker and Little Nick battle for the lead through a half-mile in :44.97. Once they turned for home, Kodiak Kowboy split both horses and easily shot to the lead. The Roundhouse, who had finished second in the Sanford Stakes (gr. II) last month, challenged four-wide from the outside but did not have enough to overtake the winner, who was being urged by Bridgmohan.

“I saw the hole turning for home, and he was willing,” Bridgmohan said. “He did everything I wanted and was very gutsy today. He got a lot out of this race. He was professional in doing it. He broke smartly, and he rated himself a little bit. The horses were going pretty good up front, and he sat in behind them pretty nicely and it opened up right at the top of the stretch. When I pointed him, he was just willing and just shot right through there. Then, he went about his business.”

Betatron finished fourth, but was later disqualified for bumping in deep stretch. Little Nick was placed in that position. Sargent Seattle, a 6 1/2-length winner is his debut, was scratched from the race.

(Chart, Equibase)